On The Plane (1)
July 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
On the plane, an old lady – well dressed, mostly in black and much too wintry for the hot day – walked slowly by my seat at the aisle all the long way to the back toilet. She had heavy jewelry on: earrings, rings, bracelets, and at least two or three necklaces, predominately of gold and with a lot of turquoise stones. All in all surely too much, but not necessarily of bad taste. As I watched her old hands with her gout-ridden fingers moving from one seat to the next, supporting the unstable walk of age, I thought that there were two ways in which women wear so much jewelry: like a war loot, thus “Look what I own!”, more common amongst younger women being overdressed; or – and that more frequently to observe amongst older women – the jewelry being something like a portable personal historical archive: “This is my wedding ring; we were married for fourty-five years, most of them happy ones; he’s dead since fifteen next month” or ” This is my mother’s bracelet; she’d got it from her mother, too. It’s over two hundred years old” and “This necklace is not out of real turquoises, but my lover was a young poetess. No money at all! I used to pay all our hotel bills. Gone before her time… God, how I miss her!”
And so on…
Yes, the old lady on the plane certainly belonged to the second category. If the plane were to crash, if she’d had a heart attack in the taxi on her way from the airport to Athens, if she’d be hit by a car the next morning, she wanted her archive to be with her and be buried with her, ancient funerary objects in her tomb.
I thought of my mother, my father, and my sister whom I was going to meet again in a couple of hours.